An essay by Sara Schaefer Munoz in the “Home and Family” section of The Wall Street Journal (February 12, 2008) caught my eye. The essay, entitled “For Single Moms, Access to Better-Paying Jobs is Key,” talks about how difficult it is for single mothers to balance work/life issues.
First of all, it never distinguishes between widowed, divorced, and never-bothered-to-be-married moms. The issues are quite different: insurance, spousal and child support, his extended family’s continual involvement, and so forth. Contrast that to a woman who simply got pregnant by some guy. The latter situation is far different and each of them requires its own newspaper column. They are generally lumped together because of “political correctness” (no judgment and no hurt feelings), and not because the three situations vary widely due to the financial situation and the well-being of the children.
The essay did the usual by suggesting available careers and child-care possibilities. It was the “Readers Say” portion that requires a response from me. One reader wrote: “Maybe if more men took accountability for proper birth control, there would be fewer single mothers working two jobs to make ends meet.” I just can’t let this one go. Oh my, are we unfairly picking on the woman?
Here’s how I see it: it is in the woman’s body that the miracle of conception, gestation, and ultimate birth of a new human being takes place. It is legally the woman’s prerogative to kill it or bring it to term. No man has any legal say in the life or death of his child’s first nine months of existence. These two facts give the woman the overwhelming preponderance of responsibility.
There are too many never-married mothers, because women have become more casual about sex (abortion is just another form of birth-control), and more casual about children (they don’t really need a daddy). The children pay the price: no dad in the home, and they’re in day-care (which I call “day orphanages”), so momma can hopefully find a job.
So, to get back to the title of the essay, “better-paying jobs” is not the key. Marriage is.